For a brief, frightening moment this weekend, I thought I would miss the Bowl Championship Series when it is replaced with a playoff format in 2014. Texas A&M’s upset of Alabama meant that there would, in all likelihood, be no team from the Southeastern Conference in this year’s National Championship Game, ending the conference’s reign over the rest of college football. The one consistent positive of the BCS was revealed yet again — it gives college football the most exciting regular season in sports. Every game counts.
The possible matchups that have now arisen should make any fan salivate. Imagine a wild shootout between Kansas State and Oregon, or even better: one of those teams beating the crap out of Notre Dame. But then I remembered the horrible outcomes that could result from the BCS system. If all three undefeated teams remain perfect, who gets bounced from the championship? What if that team wins in their bowl game and has a legitimate claim to a title of its own? What if that team is Notre Dame, making them even more annoying than usual?
Then I realized the worst possibility of them all: two of the top three teams lose and we get a one-loss SEC team in the championship, meaning either Alabama inevitably earns another trophy for the dark lord Saban, a Florida team with no offense to speak of makes an appearance, or Georgia plays their third quality opponent all year. Remember 2007, with its wild regular season where it seemed like every team in the nation was ranked No. 2 for a week? Remember how awful it was when a 10-2 LSU team backed into the National Championship Game and steamrolled Ohio State? This would be like an even more dissatisfying version of that season.
While I love the college football regular season, a system in which one conference dominates the postseason based on its reputation is unacceptable. Yet it is one that has ruined the end of the season time after time. The SEC has won six championships in a row. Five of those have been horrible football games, peaking last year in an incestuous SEC West rematch between Alabama and LSU, during which an Alabama team that should not have even been on the field won 21-0 with five field goals and a touchdown.
Viewers were robbed of the matchup between Oklahoma State’s offense and LSU’s defense because the Cowboys’ schedule was deemed inferior due to … nothing. It’s true that Oklahoma State’s sole loss to Iowa State was worse than Alabama’s loss to LSU, but that should not have robbed us of an actual national title game instead of Part Two of the SEC West championship.
The playoff system that is quickly approaching will not be perfect. Teams will be left out that have legitimate claims to be in the mix. But much like the schools that get snubbed from the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, those teams will probably not be legitimate title contenders anyway. While there is a case for getting on a hot streak at the right time, the talent disparity of college football will most likely prevent any wannabe New York Giants (or even football versions of George Mason or Virginia Commonwealth) from making noise in a playoff.
The regular season will still be exciting — one loss can make or break a conference championship too — but the end result will no longer anger and disappoint the way it does now. I say good riddance to the BCS.